BlackBerry App World working to offer operator billing

While Research In Motion's fledgling BlackBerry App World virtual storefront presently offers PayPal as its sole billing mechanism, RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis says the device maker is working to introduce carrier billing options sometime in the future. In an interview with Laptop, which asks Lazaridis whether RIM is looking to make it possible to sign up for a PayPal account directly from the BlackBerry in addition to direct billing via mobile carrier, the exec responded, "The easiest answer and the correct answer right now would be all of the above. That being said, we're putting most of our attention to working with our carrier partners."

Lazaridis also explained RIM's decision to institute a $2.99 starting price for all premium applications available from BlackBerry App World: "We have a lot of respect for our developer partners and their skills and their talents, and so we've worked very closely with them, the carriers and others. We came to the conclusion that we really needed to give more power to them. We needed to give them much more flexibility and freedom as to how they price their applications, and they just didn't feel they were making money at anything less than that."

During the Laptop interview Lazaridis also weighed in push notifications, a buzzed-about new feature coming in Apple's iPhone OS 3.0 but a longtime fixture of the BlackBerry platform. "We offer a full push, multitasking operating system, where all the applications that actually have a wireless push registration with the OS are continuously updated," he said. "And when a push certification comes in, that push certification is authenticated and given to the app. That's a big deal, and we've had that for a decade."

Lazaridis additionally grappled with Apple's claims that multi-tasking takes a significant toll on device battery life. "If you don't make the right trade-offs, you have what we call a catastrophic effect on battery life," he said. "Unlike voice, data usage is growing exponentially. There just never seems to be enough bandwidth for Internet-based applications. So all the optimizations and conservation techniques we have developed for the BlackBerry system over the years are now paying huge dividends to our subscribers and carrier partners. The fact is that the BlackBerry was designed to multitask from day one. I think our operating system has constantly been underestimated."

For more on Lazaridis' comments:
- read this Laptop article

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